Famed Twitter litigant (and occasional actor) James Woods has suddenly been faced with the less fun side of his “sue anyone who speaks ill of me online” philosophy, with a woman he incorrectly identified as a Nazi supporter on Twitter now taking him to court for $3 million in damages.
The case stems from a March 2016 tweet, in which Woods loudly questioned whether a woman photographed giving a Nazi salute at a Trump rally was Bernie Sanders supporter Portia Boulger. Smelling one of their beloved “false flag” operations in the works, Woods’ horde of online supporters and screaming eggs quickly spread the idea around, leading to it being retweeted by Donald Trump, Jr. Once it became clear that Boulger was not, in fact, a subtle provocateur infiltrating the Trump camp in order to magically transform some of its members into Nazis, Trump deleted the tweet. But it took Woods longer to recant his questioning accusation, and when he did, it was with one of the worst apologies on public record, first misspelling Boulger’s name, and then taking a swing at Sanders even as he was magnanimously promising to “defend her from abuse.”
You’d hypothetically think, but not actually expect, that Woods would be a little bit better informed about the dangers of careless words on the internet. (In the actor’s defense, he doesn’t appear to have stooped to calling Boulger a “coke addict,” sticking with the relatively less offensive “Nazi” instead.) Nevertheless, Boulger has accused him of defamation and false light invasion of privacy, saying that his actions caused her to receive hundreds of death threats, not to mention the creeping sensation that comes from knowing James Woods was looking pictures of you up online.
Woods’ attorneys denied any wrongdoing by their client. “Mr. Woods tweeted a question seeking clarification. On its face, that is not defamation. In fact, Mr. Woods went out of his way to defend Ms. Boulger against alleged harassment. This case proves the adage ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’“